The MOM 100 Blog
Every time I think I’ve made a ridiculously large amount of this chili, and my husband wonders loudly and pointedly if we’re having a big crowd for dinner, we surprise ourselves by eating it all. Not in one sitting, unless we are in fact having a big crowd for dinner, but over the course of several pleasurable days.
This falls into the blissful, classic category of soups and stews that are even better after a few days. It also falls into the category of meals that make you glad to have in the fridge on a weeknight, especially when work or soccer practice means you’re walking in the door at 6:00 p.m.
Serve the chili with rice, of course, and you don’t even have to bother with salad or a vegetable unless you’re feeling frisky. This chili’s got the veggies built right in.
In some parts of the world, and especially the good old U.S. of A., the definition of chili is the subject of heated discourse. This version could anger the con carne sect, especially those from Texas. There are copious amounts of beans in this chili, and the meat is turkey, not beef. I make no claims to chili authenticity and will just humbly submit the words of chili expert Jane Butel: “Whenever I meet someone who does not consider chili a favorite dish, then I’ve usually found someone who has never tasted good chili.”
FOR THE CHILI
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 large red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 pounds ground turkey or chicken and/or fresh turkey sausage removed from the casing (see Cooking Tip)
1 teaspoon kosher or coarse salt, or more to taste
1⁄2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
3 cans (28 ounces each) crushed tomatoes
2 teaspoons pureed chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (optional)
3 cans (about 15.5 ounces each) cannellini, kidney, or black beans, or a mixture of 2 or 3 kinds of beans, rinsed and drained
2 to 3 tablespoons minced fresh dill or parsley (optional)
Hot cooked rice, for serving
FOR SERVING, PICK AND CHOOSE
Shredded cheese, such as cheddar or a Mexican cheese blend
Diced avocados, or store-bought or homemade guacamole
Chopped fresh tomatoes
Fresh lime wedges
- Heat the olive oil in a large deep pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions, bell peppers and cook until softened, 4 minutes. Add the garlic, oregano, basil, chili powder, and cumin and cook for 2 minutes more.
- Add the turkey, chicken, sausage, or whatever combination you are using, and the salt and black pepper, stirring to coat well with all of the spices. Cook, stirring until the meat loses its pinkness, about 6 minutes, then add the tomatoes, chipotles, if using, and the beans. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally until the mixture tastes like chili, 25 to 30 minutes. Stir in the dill or parsley, if using, and add more salt and/or pepper as necessary.
- Serve the chili with hot rice and any toppings you like.
Is It Spicy?
Boy, there are fewer questions that are more subjective. I don’t think this chili is, but Aaron E., one of Charlie’s friends and an expressive young soul, said when eating this that it “felt like the chili had taken his taste buds hostage.” Now Aaron E., upon adding an additional generous scoop of rice to his plate, did eat his dinner, but the moral of the story is start with less seasoning, and you can always add more.
I like to use a combination of half ground turkey and half turkey sausage (and a mixture of hot and sweet sausage is great). For the ground turkey or chicken, don’t go for ultralean or white meat; you’ll be happier with the moistness of the darker meat. You can also use finely chopped skinless, boneless chicken thighs.
This does make a big batch of chili, but it will keep for up to five days in the fridge. And do yourself a favor: Pack a quart of this in a freezer-safe container or zipper-top plastic bag, and another dinner ready for the defrosting. It can be frozen for up to four months.
What the Kids Can Do:
There is quite a bit of chopping and measuring and stirring involved when making this chili. If your kids are young, making them in charge of putting various toppings in bowls is a nice task to assign.